IN: Growing fresh vegetables in a hydroponic farm

What do we think of when we hear the word “farm”? Acres of lush green land under the sun which are usually away from the bustling noises of the city, cattle, fresh produce and the traditional image of Indian farmers pop up in our heads. While there are very many varieties of farming across the country and all over the world, the need for soil and sunlight are almost imperative to our understanding of farming.

However, one couple in Mumbai has begun a revolution of sorts when it comes to soil-less farming called hydroponic farming. Joshua Lewis and Sakina Rajkotwala had well-paying lucrative jobs before they dove into the world of farming, a profession not a lot of 24-year-olds would choose to take up. In 2017, during their visit to the quaint township of Auroville in Puducherry, the couple was inspired by the bonafide champion of natural farming, Krishna Mckenzie. Today, they run Herbivore Farms in Mumbai’s Andheri East in a room less than 1,000 sq ft which grows over 1,000 plants including several different types of green.

Sakina rightly said that most, if not all of us who dwell in the city, receive their produce from far off places and it leaves no scope for us to trace them back to their roots. “Nutrients, texture and freshness are lost during the whole process of packaging, transportation and then the food sits in the shelves, where much of the beneficial factors of greens are lost,” she added. Talking along similar lines, Joshua said that when he consumes packaged and store-bought produce, the leaves are more often than not wilted, which is only a sign of the absence of nutrients.

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